Discovery is celebrating thirty years globally and twenty years in India. When the channel was launched in 1995 it introduced a fresh way of programming. It launched a Hindi feed in 1998 and has managed to get a loyal audience for the last twenty years.
Talking about the journey, milestones and challenges, Rahul Johri, EVP & GM-South Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific says launching of new channels, new languages over the past seven-eight years has been an experience and it’s the requirement for them to deliver on viewers expectation.
He said, “The challenge always is to be relevant at all times to viewers expectations and of course Discovery is extremely fortunate. If you look at any town, district or village or any home, Discovery is viewed. We have got tremendous love and affection from the Indian viewers, the channel resonates with the viewer’s expectation, which then throws the challenge to the team over here to deliver to the viewers on their expectation.”
As far as connecting with variety of audiences throughout the entire country, Johri believes India is very young country and every Indian realises that education and knowledge is the way to economical empowerment and that is where Discovery really delivers.
“It is like a very comfortable friend which delivers on your knowledge expectations, it’s really because of this reason that today outside of the general entertainment space and cricket we are the biggest channel in the country.”
Discovery has been very specific with their associations with different brands. The company chooses its promotions very wisely whether it is on-ground industry events like Goafest or in film advertising such as Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
On these associations Johri says, “The biggest thing about discovery is, we never go off brand. We are always on brand we do exactly what the viewer’s expectation is. We don’t surprise our viewers unnecessarily and that consistency of delivery results in association like Jab tak Hai Jaan. We have associated with Goafest for the last seven-eight years, So these are signs of a company committed to Indian market and we will continue to do such things because such associations have worked very well for us.”
Given the backdrop of digitisation, digital media, apps and mobile consumption the TV viewing experience has changed and will change in the future too. Sharing his thoughts over the future of Indian entertainment industry, Johri said, “I see that content will become better on the back of digitisation because everybody will have the access to watch channels. Just by being sensational will not get you anywhere. Content has to be of certain nature which enriches viewers and provides meaningful value for the viewer’s time.”
Over the last few years Discovery has been aggressive about their Indian content, launching regional channels, native language feeds and focusing on India-based production. This has given a lot more reach to this channel pan India. Talking about the way ahead for Indian content and strategy, Rahul Johri said, “When people come to Discovery, it’s not that they come to watch an Indian channel, they come to watch a global channel as a viewer. They want to see the Indian content standing right up there. Our biggest means of localisation to appeal to the viewers is our language.”
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